Since 2017’s SL14B celebrations, seasonal shopping events hosted by the Lab have become something of a popular thing in Second Life, with events being held over the winter holiday period in 2017, and earlier in 2018.
Popular among creators and shoppers alike, these events so no sign of stopping, and on Tuesday, November 6th, the Lab blogged about the winter / Christmas 2018 event, with a call to merchants who may wish to apply to be a part of it.
We realize many of us are still recovering from the Halloween holiday, but the truth is – the rest of the year will creep upon us like the creepiest of Halloween creatures. Winter is coming…and that means it’s time for cheerful greetings, the spirit of giving, and lots of festive music!
Like last year, we’re winding up for a winter in-world shopping event – and we’re now looking for Merchants who would like to participate!
– Xiola Linden, blogging on the winter shopping event
The winter 2018 event will run from Monday, December 17th, 2018 through to Tuesday, January 4th, 2019, inclusive, with Xiola further noting:
This event … is an opportunity to bring a ton of new customers to your brand, offer some of you best items, and celebrate the holiday season in a huge shopping event across several Regions.
We are looking for merchants willing to offer a discount on some of their items (think after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday deals!) and provide a small non-exclusive gift to holiday shoppers.
Those merchants and designers interested in participating in the event are invited to complete the application form (embedded below, and also available here, for those preferring the direct link). Note that submissions must be made no later that Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, with the cut-off for applications at 00:01 SLT on Wednesday, November 28th.
I’m always of a mixed mind when it comes to amusement park themes in Second Life, never sure as to how well they really work in transmitting a sense of thrill / fun. This is not to critique the creators of such venues and the rides that go into them, but rather a reflection that for all its marvels, Second Life is still bounded by certain limitations that can impact the sense of immersion.
That said, there have been various roller coaster rides and theme parks I have visited in-world, and had fun doing so. This being the case, when Miro Collas suggested a visit to the Master’s Amusement Park, designed by Brick Masters (GeniusMike), I added it to my list of Exploring Second Life destinations, and on a sunny Tuesday morning (both SL and in the physical world!), hopped over to take a look.
Occupying a sky build, the Master’s Amusement Park is a place of two halves. The “old” landing point can be found on the mainland, forming a “ticket office” and entrance. This informs visitors that the park is now “all new” (as of 2017 at least), and offering a “lifetime season pass” by joining the park’s group – although group membership is *not* a requirement to take to the rides. This landing point eventually directs visitors to a teleport that deposits them at the amusement park proper, a location I’ve used as the main SLurl in this article. I assume the split is due to the park having relocated from the Mainland to a private region in 2017.
A tram service from the latter landing point carries visitors up to the park itself, but I found this to be painfully slow, and on my return to the park after an initial scouting, simply used a double-click TP to hop up to the “surface” level. This is home to around 11 outdoor roller coaster rides, together with a log flume, indoor rides (some stacked one atop another, which I personally found visually distracting) and various other fun fair style rides.
A local set of teleport disks link the major rides one to another, although reaching the majority can be achieved by wandering around the footpaths in the park. The emphasis is very much on the rides, so landscaping is fairly minimal, outside of the sim surround. The rides themselves appear to span all eras – prim, sculpt and mesh, some of which does give parts of the park a rather “old school” look.
The rides themselves run as smoothly as one might expect from SL, but whether they “work” for you is a personal choice; this kind of ride is one of the times when it’s hard not to feel that full visual immersion, were it possible, could only add to the feeling of being there – even in Mouselook, you’re still effectively looking at a flat screen depicting a ride, and while the sense of motion is there, it still lacks a little something to get the heart beating just a little faster.
The big advantage with Second Life is that the realities of gravity, inertia and simple physics and the like aren’t a major constraint on rides, and thus some of those offered at the park can go that extra step: a truly vertical drops, exceptionally tight turns and track arcs allowing a lot to be packed into relatively small spaces, a log plume with turntables for reversing your direction of travel without the worry of water slopping everywhere, etc. Whether it was actually a placebo effect or not is open to debate in my head, but it did feel as if the mesh rides – notably Olympia Looping – felt a lot smoother and more engaging than some of the other rides; but that could simply be because of a subconscious reaction to its more modern, sleeker looks.
As noted above, whether amusement park rides work for you in SL or not is matter of personal choice. I admit to that were it my choice, I’d perhaps opt for fewer rides in favour of a little more landscaping and avoiding the “double stacked nature of some of the rides; but for those who are curious about roller coasters and amusement rides in SL, Master’s Amusement Park certainly offers a lot to be tried out in a single location.
Are you a little bit crazy? Have a slight taste for personal suffering? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to develop a personality tic? You might be perfect for our team!
– From the Firestorm blog post on volunteers
This is light-hearted start to a blog post by Firestorm’s Jessica Lyon that has a serious intent: a call for assistance from Firestorm users willing to give some of their time to help support both the Firestorm viewer and the Firestom team’s other activities in Second Life.
As the most popular Second Life viewer (and a viewer with a strong following in OpenSim), Firestorm actually requires a lot of upkeep; not just in maintaining and extending the code either by exposing debug features provided by Linden Lab or through the provision of dedicated code contributions, but also in ensuring the viewer is fit for purpose ahead of any release and in providing that same vast user community with ongoing support and assistance.
As such, Firestorm is looking for volunteers willing to join the following teams:
Firestorm Support: helping residents solve problems they may encounter with installing and using the Firestorm viewer through the in-world support groups and by filing support tickets on the Firestorm Jira (bug-reporting system).
Firestorm QA Team: helping to ensure each viewer release is as good as it can be, by finding and reporting bugs (part of which means accepting frequent crashes). But it also means getting to see, use and test new features before the rest of the user base.
In addition, Firestorm is looking for mentors to help assist new users at the Firestorm Community Gateway. The work is rich and diverse, including providing insight, advice, and direction, responding to questions of every possible variation on the viewer and Second Life, helping new residents learn about the viewer and interact with the virtual world, and more.
Those interested in the role are invited to visit the Social Club at the Firestorm Gateway in world, where a red box can be found, offering an application form, which should be posted back to the box when completed.
Cica Ghost sent me an invitation to visit her latest installation in Second Life, which opened on Sunday, November 4th, 2018. Rusty is another of Cica’s more quirky builds, a strange post-industrial landscape looking like a little town and dominated y some strange machines.
Cica sums the installation up with a quote by Joseph Addison, the 18th Century English essayist, poet, playwright, politician, and co-founder of The Spectator magazine: Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week. While Addison, the son of a Church of England clergyman, was referring to the act of going to church – noting that it both refreshes people’s thinking around God and gets them looking their best in their Sunday finery – Cica offers no such religious connotations with Rusty.
Instead she offers a single suggestion: “have fun!” It’s an idea that’s also well suited to a Sunday, but which applies equally well whenever you opt to visit Rusty, because this is a place where there is a lot to do, besides wandering around.
Given the name of the installation, it should come as no surprise that rust features heavily here; it can be found on almost every surface – sometimes to the degree that you might think that simply tapping a drum or tower or metal line could result in all or part of what you touched vanishing a cloud of rusty dust and falling debris. The structures themselves are many and varied – from chimney-like stacks to metal prams travelling along old metal tent spikes strung together to form cables. Part of some might resemble old watering cans, others strange kettles with upturned spouts. Some even has a decidedly anthropomorphic look about them.
To the east of the region, for example, a series of ladders rise against some of these strange structures, one of which, with its large rotating wheels set either side of a hook-like bill, looking from a distance like some weird metal flamingo. More to the centre of the region is a very definite rooster, also offering a place to sit.
There are also metal creatures to be found here, from the massive wheeled (and ridable) cat near the landing point (if it is not already rolling around the region, jump up on its back and touch its tail light to start moving), to an odd metal spider, or the mouse also out on the water, well away from its cousin on dry land.
The “Flamingo” is linked to a neighbouring tower by means of a metal plank. Those wishing to do so can obtain a pair of boxing gloves at either tower and join in a game of Plank Boxing. Elsewhere are plenty of places to sit and watch others come and go, while a tall building offers the only place where machinery largely unaffected by rust can be found. Could it be responsible for keeping the place running?
Filled with Cica’s familiar motifs, Rusty is another whimsical installation that will remain open until the end of the month.